Investigators on January 6 sue Proud Boys’ Oath Keepers as investigation turns into domestic extremism

The subpoenas require documents by December 7 and deposits the following week.

Tarrio is currently incarcerated in a DC jail for burning a Black Lives Matter flag stolen from a nearby church during a pro-Trump meeting in December 2020, a crime for property destruction that gave him six months in prison. Rhodes, who was at the Capitol on January 6, but did not appear to enter the building, has allegedly been questioned by the FBI.

The Justice Department has already accused dozens of members of the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers of participating in the Capitol siege and accused leaders of these groups of conspiring to prevent Congress from confirming the 2020 election. These conspiracy cases are the most complex and significant, as federal prosecutors have filed against the more than 700 defendants charged in connection with the January 6 attack.

The latest group of summonses signals that Parliament’s select panel is joining groups – Proud Boys and Oath Keepers – whose members spent weeks actively organizing to get down to Washington, DC on January 6, helping to get the turnout to pro -Trump rallies that later transformed into the riot. Many extremist group members charged with their actions requested requests for funding and equipment, which they brought with them on January 6th.

The committee’s growing interest in the role of domestic extremists on January 6 brings it in line with the Justice Department’s extensive investigation into the Capitol attack. Prior to Tuesday’s subpoenas, the select panel had predominantly expressed interest in witnesses who might shed more light on Trump’s role in trying to overthrow the election and call supporters to Washington on Jan. 6.

Proud boys

The Proud Boys are a far-right nationalist group that describes itself as a “pro-Western” organization.

Tarrios arrest on January 5 for the banner destruction seemed to excite group members. As POLITICO has reported, a private intelligence group sharing threat information with federal law enforcement warned on January 5 that a Proud Boys Telegram channel threatened to “remove” government officials in response to Tarrio’s arrest.

More than 100 members of the Proud Boys came down to the Capitol on January 6, and dozens broke the building, according to court records. Four of the group’s leaders – Ethan Nordean, Joseph Biggs, Zachary Rehl and Charles Donohoe – have been accused of leading a conspiracy to halt the certification of the election. Their employee, Dominic Pezzola, was one of the first to enter the Capitol using a stolen police riot shield to smash a window.

Prosecutors have described extensive conversations on the Signal messaging app among Proud Boys executives who struggled to reorganize themselves after Tarrio’s arrest. Donohoe allegedly orchestrated the deletion of many of these messages after Jan. 6, when members were concerned they could be subjected to criminal exposure.

Nordean was among the first rioters on January 6 to reach the Capitol, marched there, even before Trump’s speech to supporters, and was among the first wave of people to break through police lines.

Edsvogtere

The Oath Keepers are also a right-wing extremist group that opposes what it sees as federal government tyranny. Like the proud boys, dozens of Oath Keepers took part in the attack, with about a dozen famously entering the Capitol in a military-style “stack” formation. Twenty of the group’s leaders are accused in the most far-reaching case that has come out of the riot on January 6. And prosecutors have provided evidence that the group stored firearms at a hotel in Arlington, Va. a place its members described as a “rapid reaction force” they could use if the violence escalated further, according to reports obtained by investigators.

Rhodes joined many of the 20 Oath Keepers currently facing Jan. 6-related charges at a venue outside the Capitol, with photos and videos showing the leader convening the group in the midst of chaos. Text messages and radio communications obtained by prosecutors have described Rhodes’ extensive communication with many of his allies throughout the riot.

The federal judge who presides over the Oath Keepers case, Amit Mehta, recently said he believes Trump and his allies have shied away from the responsibility of inciting the attack with lies about the election, while “peasants” who carried it out, have been investigated and punished.

But the judge has also expressed serious concern over the pre-jan. 6 planning of Oath Keepers members. Several have claimed in the trials and arguments that they participated in the Trump rally to provide security for VIPs, including Stone, and that they wore equipment to prepare for potential counter-protests. But an Oath Keeper leader, Kelly Meggs, told allies “this is not a rally,” which Mehta has described as key evidence of the group’s intentions.

The select committee may find it challenging to serve a summons to the Oath Keepers organization. The group’s own lawyer recently asked to resign after claiming he could not reach anyone in the organization. That proposal was filed in a lawsuit filed by members of Congress against Trump and his allies after the January 6 attack. Thompson initially took the lead in suit, though he has since withdrawn from it to head the select committee.

1st change praetorian

The organization promises itself to provide security for conservative marches and protests. Its founder, Robert Patrick Lewis, is a former U.S. Army staff sergeant and recipient of the Bronze Star and Purple Heart, according to a June profile of The Daily Beast. He has pushed for conspiracy theories, such as requirements for Fox News on November 2, 2020, that Antifa would soon trigger violence.

“Our intelligence shows that no matter who wins the election, they are [Antifa] is planning a massive ‘Antifa Tet offensive’, aimed at destroying the global order, ”he said.

Lewis boasted of protecting Ali Alexander – a key leader of the “Stop the Steal” alliance formed to bolster Trump’s unfounded election challenges – and proclaimed his links to Michael Flynn and Sidney Powell. An archived page from his group’s website says that its members provided security for several Stop the Steal events and for the Women for America First Million MAGA March in November 2020.

So was he listed as a speaker in the application for permission for the Freedom Plaza event on January 5, where Roger Stone and Alex Jones performed. The permit also said his group would provide unarmed security for this event. 14.18 on 6 January at Lewis tweeted that it was “the day the true battles begin.”

Lewis later told The Daily Beast that he was far from the violence that day and that he tweeted that afternoon from the Willard Hotel. This place served as a sort of command center for outside Trump allies, increasing his efforts to overthrow the election, making it a central focus for the committee’s January 6 investigators.

Tuesday’s subpoenas are not the first hint of the committee’s interest in the 1st Amendment praetorian. In its request for documents on 25 August from the National Archives, the committee sought any communications from the White House from April 1, 2020 to January 20, 2021, related to the election as well as those with a host of conservative activists and agitators. Robert Patrick Lewis was on the list.

Two parties in two days

On Monday night, the panel convened a group that included some longtime Trump World residents, including InfoWars chief Alex Jones, rally promoters Dustin Stockton and Jennifer Lawrence, and Trump’s current spokesman Taylor Budowich. The longtime Trump confidant, Roger Stone, who was pardoned by the former president in his last days in office, was also summoned – a summons that quoted an ABC News story reports that Oath Keepers members provided Stone with security in the time leading up to January 6th. Several people pictured near him were later charged with participating in the attack on the Capitol.

“While in Washington, you allegedly used members of the Oath Keepers as personal security guards, several of whom were allegedly involved in the Capitol attack, and at least one of them has been indicted,” the lawsuit reads.

Past parties have targeted top officials in the Trump White House, such as former Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and adviser Stephen Miller, as well as middle-level officials and Trump campaign leaders and organizers of the January 6 demonstration that preceded the Capitol attack. The panel is also battling Trump in court for access to his White House records related to the former president’s efforts to overthrow the election.

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